Myanmar’s (Burma) Muslims mark Ramadhan out in the cold.

Huddled under umbrellas to escape a thundering monsoon downpour, dozens of Muslims stood in line at a Yangon mosque for a small portion of rice and curry to break their Ramadhan fast.

Many would have normally prayed at Islamic schools that for six decades – most of them spent under Myanmar’s former military government – doubled as a place for Muslims to come together for worship.

But last month the madrassas in eastern Yangon were closed down by a Buddhist nationalist mob, one of a growing number of raids by resurgent hardliners intent on silencing the maligned minority.

“We have faced more discrimination over the last few years,” said Hussein, who used to pray at the schools.

Nearby old bearded men used wooden paddles to stir steaming vats of daal, which was portioned into metal tiffins with rice and handed to waiting families.

Muslims only make up some 3-4 percent of Myanmar’s population, including the Rohingya minority from western Rakhine State, but the religion traces its roots in the country back centuries.

Now many are feeling unwelcome in their own homeland.

“When I was young there was no discrimination. We were very friendly [with Buddhists], so we would eat at their homes and they would eat at ours,” added Hussein, who like many of Myanmar’s Muslims only goes by one name.

“Now we live in this country and we are not free to practice our religion.”

Aung Htoo Myint, secretary of the mosque in Yangon’s poor Thaketa township, said they had struggled to accommodate the hundreds forced to join their congregation after Islamic schools were shuttered.

Many from the mainly Muslim neighborhood braved the monsoon rains to pray together in the street when this year’s holy month of Ramadhan began, but local authorities swiftly banned those gatherings as well.

They have since launched legal proceedings against three people who attended a prayer session, arguing the gathering threatened “stability and the rule of law”.

Bo Gyi, a teacher at the madrassas, said they had been given no details of when the schools would reopen or what would happen to the 300 children who studied there.

“We have written letters to the president and Yangon chief minister as well,” he said, but there has been no reply.

Myanmar has faced growing criticism for how it treats Muslims, who now encounter restrictions on who they can marry and even how many children they can have under the country’s 2015 Race and Religion laws.

Tensions have simmered since 2012 when sectarian violence erupted in Rakhine, killing around 200 people, mostly Rohingya Muslims, and driving tens of thousands into displacement camps.

The young civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi has struggled to contain anti-Muslim sentiment since militants claiming to represent the Rohingya attacked police posts late last year.

Since then the hardliners have become increasingly vocal, shutting down Islamic events, forming a political party to stand in the 2020 elections and clashing with Muslims on Yangon’s streets.

Police have arrested ringleaders behind the violence, while the country’s top Buddhist body has banned prominent ultra-nationalist group Ma Ba Tha – which responded by simply changing its name.

But ordinary Muslims fear they are now becoming targets in their own country.

Haroon, 57, who has spent his whole life in Yangon where he works selling chapattis, says he is increasingly worried about the nationalists.

“There is only one group creating this situation,” he tells AFP inside the house where he lives with his wife and three children, unwilling to say the name Ma Ba Tha out loud.

“If that group disappeared completely, everything would be peaceful.”

Source – The JakartaPost

Soldiers shoot attacker in #Brussels ‘terrorist’ blast

Belgian soldiers shot a terror suspect after an explosion rocked the central train station in Brussels on Tuesday in the latest attack to hit Europe.

Witnesses said the suspect shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) before causing the blast, with local media saying the individual had activated an explosive belt.

Authorities reported no casualties, apart from the attacker who was was killed in the confrontation.

Crying passengers were evacuated from the station as the city that hosts the EU’s headquarters was struck by a new attack just over a year after suicide bombers hit the city’s airport and metro system.

“This is considered as a terrorist attack,” federal prosecutor’s office spokesman Eric Van Der Sypt told a news conference outside Brussels Gare Centrale station.

The blast in Belgium comes a day after a man mowed down Muslims near a mosque in London, and a radical Islamist on a terror watchlist rammed a car laden with weapons into a police vehicle in Paris.

Brussels has been on high alert since suicide bombers struck the city’s airport and metro in March 2016, killing 32 people and injuring hundreds more.

The Islamic State group claimed the attacks, which were carried out by the same Brussels-based cell behind the November 2016 Paris attacks that killed 130 people.

Van Der Sypt said that at about 1830 GMT there has was a “small explosion at Central Station here in Brussels.”

“The suspect has been neutralized by the military that were present at the scene immediately after the explosion,” the spokesman said. “He is dead.”

There were no other casualties, Van Der Sypt said.

The incident happened well after rush hour, but hundreds of passengers were still evacuated from one of Belgium’s busiest stations. The nearby Grand Place, a major tourist destination, was also evacuated.

“There were people crying, there were people shouting,” said Elisa Roux, a spokeswoman for the Belgian rail company SNCB.

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#INDONESIA – ASEAN lawmakers alarmed at conviction of Jakarta governor

Lawmakers across Southeast Asia have expressed concern over the sentencing of Jakarta Governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, to two years in prison for blasphemy on Tuesday.

“The verdict is deeply disconcerting not only for Indonesia but for the entire ASEAN region. Indonesia was thought to be a regional leader in terms of democracy and openness. This decision places that position in jeopardy and raises concerns about Indonesia’s future as an open, tolerant, diverse society,” said Charles Santiago, a member of the Malaysian Parliament and chair of ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR).

“Ahok has become a victim of rising extremism and religious identity politics. But this decision has impacts beyond justice for one individual. It is a triumph for intolerance and an ominous sign for minority rights. At a time when fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression and freedom of religion, are under increasing threat region-wide, this verdict sends the wrong signal to Indonesia’s neighbors in the ASEAN community,” he said in a written statement.

Ahok, Jakarta’s second Christian governor after Henk Ngantung (1964-1965), was convicted of blasphemy by the North Jakarta District Court and sentenced to two years in prison.

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The charges stemmed from a September speech, in which he invoked a verse from the Quran in criticizing the arguments of those who suggested that Muslims could not vote for a Christian leader.

APHR said the ruling could embolden religious hard-liners in the country and called into further question Indonesia’s harsh Blasphemy Law, which permits prison sentences of up to five years for those found guilty.

Source – TheNation

Angst, en de schurken van de EU

Angst, en het misbruik hiervan. Angst is een vorm van emotie die opgeroepen wordt door instinkt, zelfbehoud en twijfel aan de toekomst of twijfel aan zich zelf, of door beelden die ons voorgehouden worden door opzettelijk ons wereldbeeld te vertroebelen, waar de Media zich schuldig aan maakt. Als we weten dat angst door de media […]

via Angst, en de schurken van de EU — NEWS GURU by G. Tienkamp

Bevolkingsaandeel van de moslims in Duitsland stijgt naar meer dan 5% – toename van 1,2 naar 4,7 miljoen in 4 jaar

Originally posted on E.J. Bron: (Vertaling: E.J. Bron) Door de sterke stijging van nieuwe islamitische immigranten nam het aantal van de in Duitsland wonende moslims van 2011 tot 2015 met ongeveer 1,2 miljoen naar 4,7 miljoen toe, deelde het Duitse ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken woensdag in Berlijn mee. Voor het eerst sinds het jaar…

via Bevolkingsaandeel van de moslims in Duitsland stijgt naar meer dan 5% – toename van 1,2 naar 4,7 miljoen in 4 jaar — NEWS GURU by G. Tienkamp